The capacity for strategic thinking about the payoff-relevant actions of conspecifics is not well understood across species. We use game theory to make predictions about choices and temporal dynamics in three abstract competitive situations with chimpanzee participants. Frequencies of chimpanzee choices are extremely close to equilibrium (accurate-guessing) predictions, and shift as payoffs change, just as equilibrium theory predicts. The chimpanzee choices are also closer to the equilibrium prediction, and more responsive to past history and payoff changes, than two samples of human choices from experiments in which humans were also initially uninformed about opponent payoffs and could not communicate verbally. The results are consistent with a tentative interpretation of game theory as explaining evolved behavior, with the additional hypothesis that chimpanzees may retain or practice a specialized capacity to adjust strategy choice during competition to perform at least as well as, or better than, humans have.
Social animals have much to gain from observing and responding appropriately to the actions of their conspecific group members. This can in turn lead to the learning of novel behavior patterns (social learning) or to foraging, ranging, or social behavioral choices copied from fellow group members, which do not necessarily result in long-term learning, but at the time represent adaptive responses to environmental cues (public information use). In the current study, we developed a novel system for the study of public information use under fully automated conditions. We modified a classic single-subject laboratory paradigm--matching-to-sample (MTS)--and examined chimpanzees ability to interpret and utilize cues provided by the behavior of a conspecific to solve the task. In Experiment 1, two subjects took turns on an identity MTS task, with one subject (the model) performing the first half of the trial and the other subject (the observer) completing the trial using the models actions as discriminative cues. Both subjects performed above chance from the first session onwards. In Experiment 2, the subjects were tested on a symbolic version of the same MTS task, with one subject showing spontaneous transfer. Our study establishes a novel method for examining public information use within a highly controlled and automated setting.
We report on the development of a novel shared touch-panel apparatus for examining a diverse range of topics in great ape social cognition and interaction. Our apparatus-named the Arena System-is composed of a single multitouch monitor that spans across two separate testing booths, so that individuals situated in each booth have tactile access to half of the monitor and visual access to the whole monitor. Additional components of the system include a smart-film barrier able to restrict visual access between the booths, as well as two automated feeding devices that dispense food rewards to the subjects. The touch-panel, smart-film, and feeders are controlled by a PC that is also responsible for running the experimental tasks. We present data from a pilot behavioral game theory study with two chimpanzees in order to illustrate the efficacy of our method, and we suggest applications for a range of topics including animal social learning, coordination, and behavioral economics. The system enables fully automated experimental procedures, which means that no human participation is needed to run the tasks. The novel use of a touch-panel in a social setting allows for a finer degree of data resolution than do the traditional experimental apparatuses used in prior studies on great ape social interaction.
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In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.